Saturday, June 8, 2013

Our Story Pt. 3

I headed home right after to my Grammy's because obviously she was worried sick, and was afraid my mom would find out and get angry. I still don't think I've ever let my mom know about that little detail... sorry Mom! The next day was spent at King's Island with Rachel. In the long lines to ride rides, I explained everything that had happened with an unending smile. I was still on cloud nine, and being at the theme park just Rachel and I, was keeping me up there. She was so happy for me, and together we plotted to help make it happen again.
That night she drove us back to Eaton, and the plan was to drop me off at Jared's to spend the night, but if I couldn't and the plan fell through I would just spend the night with her. She's always been the perfect wing woman. I'm enternally grateful to her. As we were getting closer to town, I started to get more and more nervous. My mind was running rampant with every worse case scenerio it could create. I was launching myself in to a full forced hyperventilation. My heartbeat was thundering out of control and my lungs were drawing in fevered gasps.
“You gonna have a panic attack on me?” Rachel asked when she noticed my breaking state.
“Yes!!” I cried back at her, but she just replied “Good.”
We entered Eaton and I started to tremble. I asked Rachel what to do, and she said exactly what I was already thinking. To go up to his door, knock, and ask him if I could stay. So I did just that, ever so apprehensively.
“Yeah?” called Alanah from inside. This was not expected, and I didn't know how to reply.
“...Do I just come in?” I called back quietly, with the voice of a feeble mouse.
No reply came, just the sound of her footsteps coming closer. She opened the door smiling and let me in to the staring faces of the Stephens clan. I turned to Jared, slightly mortified I had to ask him in front of his whole family.
“Is it okay if I stay?” my voice was barely audible I'm sure.
I noticed everyone's faces were just kinda like “why are you even asking? Of course, duh.” and I think Jared said “...yeah” with the same “um obviously” tone. Happy they didn't think I was an ass for imposing, I told them I had to grab my things.
I turned back around and ran to Rachel's car to grab my dinosaur backpack, and excitedly tell Rachel goodbye. I reemerged into the home, sat down by Jared's dad, and asked “How are you?” boldly. He took a long drag on his cigarette and stared at me for a moment, making me wish I hadn't said anything.
“How am I?” his eyebrows raised.
“Yeah..” I was melting into the seat cushions.
“Oh, I'm really tired,” he said with a sigh.
“Oh me too!” I chirped, my voice and confidence coming back to me, “We've been at King's Island all day.”
At that the family launches into conversation with me about the theme park. I instantly felt welcomed and included. They were all so nice to me, even though I was probably this weird girl who seemed to have come from nowhere and was suddenly staying the night with their brother/son. I was bubbling with happiness that they seemed to like me.
I think Jared had called Dan during the convo, because he showed up a little time later. So then the three of us left, and we went to find Jon at his house around the corner. He wasn't there so we went to find Zach. Zach had summer school in the morning and couldn't hang out so we went to find Ryan. Ryan was playing final fantasy 7 and we teased him about it until he decided to turn it off and come to Walmart with us.
Dan bought us some tea and drinks, and we went out to the parking lot and ran into Stephen. We all talked to him for a little bit, then somehow they figured out Jon was at Mike's. So we then went to pick him up to go to Steak 'n' Shake. On the car ride there, in the back, Jared is between Jon and I. Oh so slyly, he put his arms around both of us, but after a moment took one arm off of Jon, so it was just me and him. I was grinning like an idiot the whole time.
We hung out there for a couple hours because Jon, Dan, and Ryan could smoke and we all could drink coffee. Jon was asking me about Alaska, and how he wished he could go. I told him I would gladly trade places with him and we agreed to. If only that had been a real option, I thought to myself. I didn't want this night to ever end. The next day I was to get on a plane and head home.
When they finished getting their caffeine and nicotine fixes, we headed back to Jared's to watch Momento. At this point I was so hungry I got the shakes, but I was too afraid to speak up. Jared showered through just about the entirety of the movie, and I was fighting so hard just to stay awake. The movie finally ended around 5am, and the guys got up and started talking. When they noticed I wasn't standing the looked down at the couch to see me in my zombie-like state.
“Tired?” Jared chuckled.
“Mmmyeah” I murmured with drooping eyelids.
“Go to bed!” he directed as if it was my own bed to sleep in whenever I wanted.
A few moments later the guys left and Jared and I trudged upstairs. We cuddled and talked about stuff we were afraid of. Me- bugs, and him- roller coasters. He'd creep a tickling hand up my back and say “Oh no, its a bug!”, so I'd pounce tickle him and yell “Oh my god!! Its a roller coaster!!”. Soon after we started smooching, so I'll save you the gory details.
The next morning, Alanah called up to tell me my Grammy was waiting outside. I quickly grabbed my things and kissed him goodbye. His hair was hanging in his eyes and I didn't want to stop and linger. I ran from the moment, like ripping a band-aid off of skin, it was short and sweet. Of course it was pouring rain outside, as if the weather was mirroring my mood. Grammy kept asking if I wanted to go back in, that I had a little more time, no need to rush. Part of me wanted to, but the band-aid was off, no need to pick at the wound.
The plane ride home I buried my nose in my journal. I was determined to write down every moment, every feeling, every little detail I could remember. It was all so terribly important to remember.
When I arrived back home, Christal was gone on a trip visiting her origins in Utah, so there wasn't anyone to talk to. So of course I did what I do best, I wrote more. I wrote a big long xanga post(which is an old school blog for those who never had one) about how I got my first kiss. I was proud of my work, then made the mistake of showing some people I thought I could trust to keep it to themselves. Instead they passed it around to everyone, so I learned the hard way who I could trust and who I couldn't. I wasn't ashamed of what I'd written, it was just deeply personal, and I knew I was being ridiculed by the readers.
Word spread quickly that I'd finally gotten my first kiss. Rumors spread back to me even quicker that suddenly three of my guy friends liked me. Even though I rarely saw them because I was at home babysitting my little brother most of the summer, I was still highly annoyed. All these guys wanted me, and all I wanted was to be back in Ohio with Jared. Or for him to come up to Alaska.
For a few weeks I was pretty lethargic. I lazed around the house playing video games with Duke or sitting at the computer refreshing Jared's myspace page every 5 minutes, hoping he would log on. I was constantly thinking of Jared, trying to hold every detail of my time with him in my mind. Yet at the same time, thinking about him just made me realize how much I missed him and how lonely I was.
July finally rolled around and Christal called the night she got home. We talked for hours about a guy she'd met before she left for Utah, and I spilled everything to her about Jared. We were so happy for each other, and my spirits were lifted just being able to talk to my best friend about everything I was feeling.
Half way through the month I went in to the orthodontist to have surgery done.. I had had braces for 2 years at that point, and they were going to cut my gums open to attach a gold chain to my bottom right canine to pull it out since it wouldn't grow out on it's own. It was terrifying because I had never been put under, and I had never had a needle in me that didn't come right out like a shot. I was panic attacking into hysterics, crying and pleading at my mother in the office as soon as I saw the i.v. I felt the cool liquid go into the veins in my hand, then slowly spread to my wrist and I was out cold.
Some time later, I awoke in my bed to a puddle of blood on my pillow. My Dad and Duke were enlisted to take care of me while Mom went back to work, but they were nowhere to be found and the house was empty. I went to look in my giant sliding mirror doors to my closet. I pulled back my lips and growled at myself, my teeth tinted red-brown, and the space where that tooth should have been had all sorts of unnatural things going on in it.
I waddled out into the kitchen, looking for relief of the immense pain in my mouth. On the counter Mom had laid some aspirin out for me. The clock on the oven said it was 2:35 pm, and the fact that I hadn't eaten at all sent my weak little body to my knees. I pulled open the fridge and grabbed an apple juice box. I slurped it down, then grabbed a go-gurt and the pills, and went back to my room and lied down to write in my journal.
The pills started to numb the pain, and when I was finished writing I went out to the kitchen to get online and see if anyone was there to cheer me up. Who should be on but Jared. By then I was used to one word answers and no way conversations with him. That's just how he was online most of the time. It was also part of the reason I thought maybe he didn't like me back for so long. I would type up a mini-paragraph to get a three word reply.
Yet this time he didn't give me short answers. We chatted on msn all afternoon since I was home alone with no one to limit my online time(my parents would only let me on 2 hours a day). He made up a story about a moose and a bear coming up to my backdoor, and it was the sweetest thing. I was instantly cheered up.
In the weeks that followed we started to talk online more and more. I would tell him that my time limit was down to 10 minutes and he would say “Nooooooooooooo”. Or he would say “I've got to take a shower” and I would say “Okay well hurry I have a lot to tell you!” and he would be like “No I can wait”. The little things like that meant so much to me. I could finally tell that I was important to him, that my presence mattered.
At the end of July, he logged in one day and I started to say hello to him. He didn't reply for a long time, and I figured he was busy so I logged into Myspace. All of a sudden that familiar msn chime came through my speakers and his name lit up on the bottom of my screen. 
“This isn't Jrody”. 
I said “Ah okay”, but was super curious as to who it was, and why they were logged in as him. 
“This is his mom”. Ohhh man. I didn't respond because I could see that she was still typing. “So I hear you're his lady” I about fell out of my chair laughing. 
“Where did you hear that?” I replied. “Elijah and Katie” Jared's older brother and sister(Alanah's middle name is Katie). I was cracking up again. I explained to her the Alaska predicament and how confusing Jared could be with his mixed signals online. 
“Yeah he's good at that. Well I think you're cute and Katie says you're cool so I approve”. I was giddy with happiness, I had made a good impression despite how weird I thought I'd been. They were accepting me before Jared could accept his feelings for me!
Through the next month though, the mixed signals got worse. The convos would get short again, and I could tell he was talking to other girls on myspace. He also didn't seem too enthused about his family approving of me. Then unexpectedly the convos would get long again and he would send the little heart emoticon at the end. It was a roller coaster for my emotions, and I would really beat myself up about it.
Did he really like me, or was I just a summer fling? Why wasn't he talking to me like he did when I was with him in person. What was I doing wrong? What was wrong with me?! When I was beating myself up I was down and nothing could bring me back up. When the convos were great I was on the highest high, and nothing could bring me down. Nothing could touch me, I was invincible.
Summer was over the day before school started. I had spent the night at Christal's house, and two days before had been a gloriously warm summer day. We stepped outside the next day and it was instantly a chilly fall. I was convinced Ben Gibbard wrote the song summer skin about us. Jared's internet connection was cut off, and so I was left alone in the 49th state. School was about to begin, and I was interviewing for my first job at the local grocery store. It was nice to see my friends again, but all my senior friends had graduated, and school didn't feel right without them.
The leaves began to change and the snow crept down the mountains into the valley. I was distracted with my new job and school. Seeing as my parents never got to come to Ohio and were missing home, they made plans to fly all of us as a family down to visit right before Thanksgiving. I kept a countdown from 80 days downward in my agenda, and the days could not have passed any slower. It was like each grain of sand was dropping, one at a time, single file. Still I tried to stay positive.
Staying positive started to prove to be too difficult, as the longer I went without speaking to Jared the heavier my heart became. That cloud was back, and there was a constant gloom over my head. More rumors came to me that another boy had a crush on me, a freshman I'd met over the summer, and I grew more frustrated seeing as Christal was interested in him.
After speaking with my Grammy, she plotted to go and visit Jared. He too had gotten his first job, at the Arby's behind his house, which was less then 20 minutes from her house. She logged into msn the next day to tell me about it. She talked to them for a while, but my favorite part was when Dan mentioned talking to me and Jared had apparently blurted out “You talked to her!?” I enlisted another spy to keep my spirits up. A messenger who went to school with him, our mutual friend Kate. She too would tell me little things he'd said to brighten up my gloom.
The aforementioned freshman and I had a couple of classes together, and we started talking a bit. His name is Josh. He was really funny, and really nice to me, and it was painfully obvious how he felt about me. The attention really made me feel good, and we had a lot in common. When feelings started to grow for him, I would beat myself up inside. 'It's just a crush' I'd convince myself, 'you love Jared'. He'd walk with me to work after school every day and we'd talk more and more. I told him everything about Jared, our whole story up to that point. I thought that might help fend off both of our feelings.
I was down to 50 days by the time mid-September. The matriarch's in my family were giving me advice when I started an all our war in my mind. They knew how I was in love with Jared, but he wasn't making an effort to contact me. They knew I was starting to have feelings for a freshman I was hanging out with. They advised to have fun with Josh for the year, and not to worry about where it goes. I could go home to Ohio and be with Jared after I graduated if that was what I really wanted. I thought they were out of their minds!
I was beginning to sink into depression. Boys were coming between Christal and I. Kids in school were complete assholes. My Mom and Grammy didn't seem to understand how I felt, or to be able to give sound advice. One night I came home from work and my family was sitting down for dinner.
“Someone called for you,” my Dad's stern voice said to me as I approached the kitchen table.
“Who?” I knew better, I knew it couldn't possibly be Jared because he hated the phone. Even knowing this, I couldn't stop my heart from leaping up into my throat
“I dunno. Some boy,” he didn't sound interested even though I was hanging on his words with bated breath.
“Well did he say his name?!” I was practically shouting with excitement. Could it really be?
“I think he said it was... Jared?”
I'm pretty sure I let out a squeal of excitement. My heart was pounding.
“Really?!” I cried with glee filling every inch of my soul. He missed me! He cared enough to ca-
“Nah, I'm just kidding. It was Christal.”
My heart stopped and came crashing back down, punching through my stomach and into my organs. Adrenaline had started to rush through my veins from excitement and nerves, but now I was just trembling. How could anyone be so cruel? I instantly burst into tears and ran into my room. How could he play with my emotions that way? Didn't he know how much I was hurting from missing Jared?
He came in a few minutes later to see me, I was sobbing into my pillow. He said it was silly to be this upset about it, and if I really missed Jared that badly, why didn't I just pick up the phone and call him. He might have apologized, but I was too busy being an emotional wreck to notice or remember. Mom came in after and convinced me it would be cute to call him at work and ask for 1,000 curly fries.
I called him at work, and forgot the joke, so it wasn't cute, it was just awkward. I was horribly embarrassed for bothering him at work, and he was embarrassed that everyone at work was in his business asking who had called for him. Still, he told me to call him at 1 am time.
I was shaking again with nerves as I dialed at 9pm that night. It had been 6 weeks since I'd head from him directly, and 3 months since I'd heard his voice, save for the brief call earlier. When he answered, relief flooded into my veins, the sound of his voice soothing all the wounds I'd gained in his absence. We talked for an hour, and it was a wonderful conversation. He told me about his brother getting married the following weekend, and how he was going to be the best man. He told me I shouldn't have felt dumb for calling him. I told him about the Shiny Toy Guns concert I went to. I told him how a guy at school had dumped a bottle of water on my chest. We talked about how our two favorite bands we getting married(the lead singer of mcr, and the bassist of msi).
When I hung up an hour later, I was feeling much better about everything, despite my Mom being pissed about me being on long distance for an hour(I told her beforehand I would pay for it, so who knows why she was pissed). Even though it made me miss him even more, I was willing to wait for him. I would have waited until the earth froze over and thawed again for him, if he had just given me something to go on. Just a real spoken word that he was committed to me like I was to him. He said he would call me back, but that was the last time I heard from him.

1 comment:

  1. I NEED you to continue this story.. I cant wait any longer.. I think about it all the time!